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How to be Environmentally Friendly for the Holidays

environmentally friendly Christmas

The holidays are a time for cheer, happiness and everything bright! We’re always on the search for gifts for our friends and relatives while surrounded by decorations and lights. For many of us, it becomes easy to lose focus on things like school, work and even our finances. Gifting isn’t always cheap! One important thing that often gets overlooked during this joyful time of year by many is something that affects us all equally: the environment! Unfortunately, the holidays, with the lights and the gifts, is particularly non environmentally friendly. This year, however, if we all pitch in and pay a little extra attention, we can make some positive efforts towards preserving the Earth we all inhabit and love. Here are some tips on how to be environmentally friendly this holiday season:

Be Christmas Light Savvy

What are the holidays without Christmas lights? Boring? Dull? Anyways, as pretty as the twinkling bulbs all over your home are, they do tend to waste a lot of energy when not tended to. With the entire United States population of holiday lights combined, that’s a terrible amount of both air pollution from the carbon dioxide released when generating electricity and light pollution. There are several ways in which this could be reduced. One way is by adding a timer to your lights, causing them to shut off at a certain time. Another way would be to purchase energy efficient lights, including those of LED lights, which are much more energy efficient compared to incandescent lights. Christmas lights are necessary, but don’t have to be destructive.

Wrap Gifts Better

I’ll be the first to admit that I’d be upset if someone handed me a sweater without any wrapping. Year after year, we receive and wrap gifts in beautiful paper that we quickly rip off and throw away. The amount of waste from this process is exorbitant and it’s far from environmentally friendly. Compared to any other time of the year, there is a significantly higher amount of trash thrown away during the holidays.  It is estimated that there is enough wrapping paper used every year to cover 5,787 NFL football fields. I’m no running back, but I could tell that that’s terrifying. My suggestion is to find new ways to wrap your gifts. This can include old newspapers, paper shopping bags (Trader Joes?!) and old magazines. Paint them or add glitter for some extra pizzazz and you’ve got a gift whose wrapper kept on giving!

Shop Smarter

If I counted the miles I drove trying to find the perfect gift the in past few years, I’d have enough to circumnavigate the globe. Multiply my own inability to reasonably shop by everyone else in the same situation and that’s a lot of driving. Fortunately, the internet does exist. But for those that like to shop in actual stores, be strategic. Make lists ahead of time including a gift idea for everyone. Also make sure to add a backup idea if you can’t find what you need. Also, find people who also need to shop and carpool. By shopping in groups or pairs, not only are you being environmentally conscious by saving on gas, but you also have a group to give you advice when shopping. It’s a win-win.

I hope you can have a very merry environmentally friendly holidays using these simple and easy suggestions! Have some other tips? Drop them in the comments below!

6 Valentine’s Day Ideas for Singles

Being single on Valentine’s Day does not have to be dull.  If you’re bummed about not having a Valentine this year, here are some ideas to make it a great day anyway!

1. Cook your favorite food.

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Cook a meal that makes you really happy.  Comfort food or a favorite family recipe is always a good choice.  Valentine’s Day is about loving yourself just as much as any other kind of love, so treat yourself!

2. Have a movie marathon.

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Have some of your close single friends over and watch a ton of movies and eat some good snacks.  Pick movies you all love, ones you all haven’t seen before or have everyone bring their favorite movie.

3. Go shopping.

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Go for some retail therapy this Valentine’s Day! Go by yourself or with a group of single friends. Pro Tip: Don’t make this an errands type of shop, treat yourself to something you don’t really need but will make you happy. You’re worth it!

4. Throw a themed party.

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You can throw a Valentine’s Day themed party to liven up the night! Getting your friends together for a fun night is always great and a theme adds to the fun. Pro Tip: Invite over both your male and female single friends and maybe love will spark!

5. Have a board game night.

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A little friendly competition can turn into a great time and board games are great for making that happen.  You can go for classic board games from your childhood or go for some more adult games.  Just go for whatever you think you and your friends will have more fun with and you’re good to go!

6. Have a Baking Party.

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Who needs an excuse to bake some Valentine’s themed treats?  There is something for everyone: heart-shaped cookies, red velvet cupcakes or frosted brownies? I’ll take all three. Have everyone decorate his/her treats with whatever toppings you pick up (red or pink icing, heart-shaped sprinkles, candy pieces, etc.).

Pro Tip: Most importantly this Valentine’s Day: treat yourself!  Do something that you really enjoy.  Hang out with people who make you happy.  Being single on Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you have to be alone.  Don’t get hung up about not having a significant other.  You can have just as much fun with some good friends and good food!

I hope these Valentine’s Day ideas for singles helps you have the perfect day. Comment below with your favorite idea!